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French press review 24 May 2013

In the wake of the suicide car bombings on an army base and a French-run uranium mine in Niger, the papers ask what next?

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"Double Islamist strike on French interests in Niger", headlines Aujourd’hui en France. "Jihadists strike France," says Le Figaro. "Areva’s uranium mine targeted in Niger bomb attack," that’s according to Les Echos.

The economic newspaper underlines that this is the very first suicide attack targeting the world’s fourth uranium producer. Niger produces 4,600 tons of uranium annually, according to the paper.

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Libération investigates the emergence of the "new terrorists", offering hints about how to track down these lone wolves and radical killers, acting in isolation

La Croix describes terrorism as a slow and haunting weapon of destruction, each day coming with its load of suicide bombings and randomly chosen victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali or Pakistan. According to the Catholic newspaper, Muslims are the collateral victims of the blind radicalism pursued by the extremists who claim to act in the name of Islam.

Terrorism is also a threat to the West, putting in peril the cohesion of its societies, says the paper. For La Croix, fighting against terrorism is tantamount to taking the risk of fuelling it. The Catholic paper says it is, however, imperative to try to prevent internal contagions and communal tensions.

British Prime Minister David Cameron moved to defuse the stigmatisation of Islam in the wake of the butchering of a soldier outside a London army barracks on Wednesday. The perpertrators weree Islamists claiming to avenge Muslims killed in Afghanistan. Cameron, La Croix notes, described the assassination as a betrayal of British Muslims, who contribute so much for their country

Libération sees the attacks in Toulouse, Boston and London as a new form of terrorism, arguing that, while it may be hasty to draw conclusions, the Merah affair, that of the Tsarnaev brothers and the gruesome attack on the British army drummer seem to be the emergence of another type of terrorism.

Most of these "lone wolves" are radicalised by the internet and trips to jihadist lands, explains Libé, and it doubts the ability of governments to foil the designs of citizens determined to sink into evil.

President François Hollande’s praise of German social welfare and labour reforms implemented under former centre-left chancellor Gerhard Schroeder attracts comments from several papers this morning.

Hollande, who is under pressure to reform his recession-hit economy, was speaking at the 150th anniversary of the founding of the German opposition Social Democratic Party in Leipzig Thursday.

"Hollande celebrates Social Democracy in Berlin," announces Libération.

Les Echos says he can’t even dream of becoming a new Schroeder when he hasn’t embarked on any groundbreaking reforms on retirement, on the family and on bolstering the economy.

Le Figaro draws Hollande’s attention to the fact that Germany’s conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel was a guest at the event.

The right-wing newspaper says it was impressed by the pragmatic remarks he made at the gathering about the economic crisis and invites Hollande to go to Germany more often for inspiration. Le Figaro yearns for the day when people will look back at the Leipzig speech as the redefining moment of the Hollande presidency, expressing hope that his “political conversion” would modify his “doomed” term of office.

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The papers pay glowing tribute to Georges Moustaki, the popular French singer and composer, who died on Thursday at the age of 79.

“Farewell to the half-breed,” mourns Libération, remembering Moustaki’s crusade to end the contempt in which Mediterranean immigrants and racial minorities were held in Europe.

Aujourd’hui en France looks back at a rich collection of romantic ballads in several languages that made the rebellious artist world famous. For Le Figaro, Moustaki lived a life of song, love and friendship. Singer, lyricist poet, he was “one of the last giants”, says the Communist Party daily L’Humanité. The Catholic daily La Croix describes Moustaki’s life as an “eternity of love”.

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